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Celebrating the Fourth of July

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Today we celebrate the birth of America’s freedom. Fifty-six men gathered 236 years ago to pledge “their, lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor” in their stand for liberty against the powerful British Empire. Take the time to read the Declaration of Independence and its grievances against the King George. You might find some of them applicable even today.

When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.

Thomas Jefferson

Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom. As nations become corrupt and vicious, they have more need of masters.

Benjamin Franklin

If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by Him… Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.

William Penn

It truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and his Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy, if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness will reign without mitigation or end.

Daniel Webster

The highest glory of the American Revolution was this; it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.

John Quincy Adams

God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

Thomas Jefferson

It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.

John Adams

Reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.

George Washington

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Gal 5:1

Happy Independence Day!

The Blessings of Liberty

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In April, 1775, farmers and townspeople in small villages in Massachusetts, Lexington and Concord, picked up their muskets to stand against the advancing army in red coats that had been sent to force them into submission. These men didn’t know what they were doing when they fired the “shot heard ’round the world,” except that they had tasted the freedom that came from governing themselves, and it was worth standing up to the King of England to keep. A year later that vision was encapsulated in the Declaration of Independence, and a grand experiment that has outlasted all revolutions to this day was begun.

The American experiment was based on men being free to run their lives in any manner they chose as long as they respected their neighbors’ rights to do the same, each man’s rights ending where another’s began. The inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, given to each individual by the Creator, are the fountains from which spring the rights to one’s dreams, possessions, ideas, as well as the fruit from those dreams and ideas. The Bible says God gives His people the power to gain wealth [Deut 818]:, and further, that He will make His people a great nation, blessed to be a blessing[Gen 12:2]. The blessings of God flowed into and out of this nation, as long as His people trust His Providence and are obedient to His precepts. The United States of America has become the richest, but most generous, nation in the history of the world, because they ascribed to the tenets laid our in God’s Word.

In this experiment called America, free men governed themselves by granting powers to a representative government. The role of the federal government was limited to only those powers specifically delegated to it in the Constitution, such things as defending the nation and its borders, coining money, providing a patent office and a post office and making treaties, things that the compilation of states couldn’t do effectively under the weaker Articles of Confederation. All other responsibilities were reserved for individual citizens, and their local and state governments. This was, after all, the United States. The framers of the Constitution knew that the greatest threat to U.S. citizens was the federal government, so they did all they could to limit its scope and power, as well as to warn subsequent generations to be vigilant about its ever present propensity to encroach on the rights of the people.

Today we are in danger of losing the liberty the men and boys standing on those village greens fought to give us. We cannot expect Big Brother to take care of every aspect of our lives if we are to remain free from the clutches of government. Peace and security do not necessarily go hand in hand with liberty. If we don’t wake up soon, we may have to fight the American Revolution yet again, hopefully with ideas this time, to remain free and to pass the blessings of liberty to our posterity.

Liberty

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Liberty is the essence of America, one of the three God-given, unalienable rights demanded in the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell tells us to “Proclaim liberty throughout the land.” [Lev 25:10], while the Statue of Liberty tells the world, “Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” Liberty provides the opportunity for individuals to become whom God made them to be. Paul wrote in his letter to the chuch in Galatia, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” [Gal 5:1]

Do we confuse liberty with licentiousness, thinking that liberty means we’re free to act selfishly, at the expense of others? I was taught that my right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness ends where yours begins. Liberty means that we’re governed internally by the laws of God written on our hearts, rather than by an external, controlling force. Only in this state are we truly free.

In this nation, we once lived in the freedom that safe limits provide. The laws of God establish boundaries for our neighbors and ourselves. Wouldn’t you rather live in a society where you can leave your house unlocked, knowing that your neighbor wouldn’t steal from you or that your children can play outside safely from dawn to dusk? Wouldn’t it be better if Americans didn’t lie, steal, murder or rape each other? Those things will not disappear from life completely until evil is defeated once for all time, but a government of responsible, self-controlled citizens is much more free than the one we are devolving into now.

A society must be organized by some form of government to function. Anarchy, communism, monarchy, oligarchy are options.  Are any of these better than the one we have under the U.S. Constitution?